Subsequent to Adam and Eve’s rebellious assertion of independence in Eden’s garden, their immediate response was a shameful awareness of their nakedness. Then came the pathetic attempt at covering themselves by sewing fig leaves together. (I don’t imagine Coco Channel or Oscar de la Renta would have been impressed with their handiwork.) At any rate, Adam and Eve heard God approaching and hid.
I’ve always been fascinated when I hear people say, “You can run, but you can’t hide!” Of course I can hide! It doesn’t mean you won’t find me, but I can still hide. My 4-year-old does it all the time. When playing hide-and-seek, he hides (if you can call it that) under the kitchen table, behind chairs or in the pantry, but he only hides about half of his body. If I can’t already see him, all I have to do is ask, “Are you ready?” and he’ll give himself away with a, “Yes Daddy! I’m ready!”
Behind a shrub in the garden, on the planet, within our solar system, somewhere in the vast expanse of the universe — all of which God Almighty created in order to dwell with us — Adam and Eve hid. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent blamed Lee Harvey Oswald. Not really. Just seeing if you were still paying attention.
In Genesis 3:14 we read, “So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you…’” The pitfall is to incorrectly label this entire section (Genesis 3:14–19) as “God’s Curses” and fatefully overlook the inherent blessings therein. God certainly does curse the serpent ( v. 14) and the ground (v. 17), but his words to Eve are immediate intimations of glorious hope and triumphant reconciliation for humanity, even anticipating a future offspring (v. 15) that will crush the serpent altogether, which foreshadows Jesus Christ! Then God says to Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (v. 19). This is not a damning prophetic forecast of harsh physical labor, but rather an allusion to the overwhelming stress, anxiety, fear and misery associated with the self-gratifying and autonomous pursuits of life. Graciously, God even uses self-inflicted turmoil to point fallen humanity back to him.
Hiding from God is the definition of futility. Adam realized this. Jonah figured it out eventually. King David wrote about it in Psalm 139, asking, “Where can I go?” Yet, even with the totality of Scripture and fullness of Christ revealed therein, we continually and perpetually wander astray to go it alone laboring, striving, toiling, grinding, plodding and sweating, all in fearful anxiety and miserable stress. This is no curse, but rather a gracious gift of origins and opportunity.
Maybe this year, maybe today, maybe right now, you will surrender everything and call out to Jesus Christ, the very one who created the garden, on a planet, within our solar system, somewhere in the vast expanse of the universe, just so that he could dwell together with us — forever. Maybe this year, maybe today, maybe right now, you’ll stop hiding and sweating.